Stewardship and Serving

August 21, 2016

“God values self-control, a spirit of generosity, and a commitment to humble service…The trials and hurts we experience for Christ’s sake build our character, demonstrate our faith, and prepare us for further service to the Lord.” (Life Application Study Bible, 1 John 2:15,16, 2 Corinthians 11:23-29)


 “Whatever struggles we have on our plate will seem like nothing once we’ve given ourselves over in service to others. Even when we are struggling to make ends meet, the power of giving can change our lives for the better.” (Abbot Tryphon)


“Personal contact with God’s people always is a challenge...We have to maintain love for others…Personal relationships require considering others' needs, problems, moods, and lifeconcerns. In order to love, we are forced to step outside ourselves, consider the lifecircumstances of others, and deliberately choose kind and thoughtful ways we may tender service to them. Personal movement from self to other is a commitment to loving “in Christ.” It demands struggle to move toward the Lord’s standard of self-giving, in hope of refreshing others in their hearts, recognizing that it may entail death to our own needs and desires.” (Dynamis 9/1/2012)


“We would not have a happy life if we spent it entirely on ourselves. Instead, God places us in this time and place to succor particular people. Such service is the path He has prepared for us all, and we must walk upon it as faithfully as possible.” (Anne Marie Gazzolo)


"One foot is advanced towards service, while the other stays firmly planted in prayer…This is the life of obedience: prayer and action. We do not remain idle, expecting God to do everything for us. Rather, we act while entrusting everything to Him and His judgment, seeking His aid and guidance, knowing that we can do no good without Him." (St. John Climacus, Archimandrite Vassilios Papavassiliou)


“As Christ our God says, “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” (Lk 16:13). It all comes down to where we invest our hearts. What do we make our top priority, day in and day out? What really counts for us, in our heart of hearts?” (OCPM 11/1/2015)


“As His servants, we must step outside the circle of world-pleasers and into the arena of pleasing...God doesn’t expect us to understand everything about Him, but to be willing and obedient servants...” (Orthodox Study Bible, 1 Thessalonians 2:4-6, Life Application Study Bible, Ezekiel 2:2)


 “The whole process whereby we were made servants of God has been accomplished by God’s gift of grace, manifesting His love for us; our part is to accept the Lord’s grace and to obey Him of our own free will. We are not being forced.” (Dynamis 6/28/2015)


“One of the finest marks of the great servants of God, a characteristic that distinguishes them above the many, is the capacity to beseech God not to charge the faults of other brethren “against them” (Dynamis 12/12/2012)


 “Until we put off religion and put on Christ, we will continue to fail in our vocation as servants.” (Abbot Tryphon)


“…all of us are stewards, or caretakers. We should be committed to the proper management of the world and its resources.” (Life Application Study Bible, Psalm 24:1)


“…mankind is to be in union with God in taking care of earth. We are to embrace our callings as stewards of creation and have synergy with Him in the care of His creation.” (Father Olof Scott, Priest and Physicist)


“…environmental issues are spiritual issues since God’s creation is part of God and should be viewed and cared for sacramentally with love and reverence.” (Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew)


“…we are renters not owners and as such we need to take care of the property appropriately. It’s really that simple. That is why living sacramentally is so important. If we view the earth through a sacramental lens and understand all of creation as sacred because it is from God then we will have an attitude that leads us to care about it appropriately.” (Sacramental Living)


 "The Greek word synergoi means"fellow-workers” and cooperating and working together. We get our word synergy from it. We are fellow workers and have synergy with God when we refashion His gifts to us as gifts back to Him….That is why the Priest says during the Liturgy"We offer to You these gifts from Your own gifts in all and for all.” Sometimes this is stated as “thine own of thine own.” (Sacramental Living)


“[Life] is all about offering what is God’s back to Him first. That is what Abel did and Cain didn’t. Abel offered his flock without even thinking about it. Cain chose what to offer God from his fruits. Cain consciously chose what to offer and that is why he sinned. He was not giving"thine own of thine own” like Abel but rather was giving"thine own of my own.” The fruits were not his in the first place and he also wasn’t putting God first in his thought. He exemplified life apart from God. He offered what he wanted to offer without a true heart for God.” (Sacramental Living)


“Every faculty you have, your power of thinking or of moving your limbs from moment to moment, is given you by God. If you devoted every moment of your whole life exclusively to His service you could not give Him anything that was not in a sense His own already.” (C. S. Lewis)


“Although the whole of creation has been placed at our disposal, we are of course still accountable to God for its care.” (Dynamis 3/24/2014)


“We must love Christ; this is necessary for the life of our soul. We also need to love God’s creation: animals, trees, flowers, birds, and above all, the most perfect of God’s creation, man." (Elder Amphilochios of Patmos)


“Giving and gratitude go together like humor and laughter, like having one’s back rubbed and the sigh that follows, like a blowing wind and the murmur of wind chimes. Gratitude keeps alive the rhythm of grace given and grace grateful, a lively lilt that lightens a heavy world." (Lewis B. Smedes)


“Giving is really more an attitude toward life than it is a specific act at one time or another. Giving people offer friendship easily; they are openhanded not only with their money but with emotions. They are quick to encourage and console. They take genuine delight in the good fortune of others. They think of strangers only as people whom they haven’t happened yet to meet. Givers have a certain openness about them. They are not aggressively competitive. They do not speak a lot about their"rights.” They generally laugh a lot and have very little self-pity. They do not run constant cost-benefit analyses to see if an opportunity for generosity is to their advantage.” (Daniel Taylor)


"...saints do not calculate what they give. They are too preoccupied with their gratitude and love for the Lord." (Dynamis 2/23/2014)


"Thankfulness is the quickest path to joy. He [God] owes us nothing, but He gives us everything.” (Jefferson Bethke)


“Just as the poor should give thanks to God and return rich love to those who assist them, so all the more should the wealthy give thanks, for through God’s providence they are able to perform acts of charity, and so are saved both in this age and in the age to come. For without the poor they cannot save their souls or flee the temptations of wealth." (St. Peter of Damascus)


“It’s possible to obey the details of the laws but still be disobedient in our general behavior. For example, we could be very precise and faithful about giving...our money to God but refuse to give one minute of our time in helping others.” (Life Application Study Bible, Matthew 23:23- 24)


“Meticulous tithing is a waste of time if we have no attendant concern for mercy – for example, if we fail to share our increase with the poor and needy but instead hoard our goods, indulging only ourselves.” (Dynamis 8/19/2013)


"God is deeply concerned to see us meet their [the poor’s] needs. His concern does not arise because the poor are inherently better but because they are needy. And from the beginning of creation, He has desired to meet human needs. He wants to meet some of them through you and me.” (Doug Sherman and William Hendricks)


“Coming to terms with our role as stewards will probably mean that we should simplify our lives in some ways. We should take an honest look at how much we contribute to the Church and to the poor. Are we giving a percentage of our income or just a few dollars?” (Abouna Justin Rose)"Ultimately, we give…to God in order to maintain the awareness that everything comes to us by t